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Jacqueline Fernandez is a true rarity. She emits a startled laugh. Projecting an air of such peachy comfort in her own skin, of open-minded clarity of thought, I can’t quite tell if the laugh betrays something vulnerable. I hope not…actually not. I know this because I’ve ‘dated’ her. She is fun, frolic but definitely not frivolous. In just her second Bollywood offering, you can see the beautiful lady has gone that extra mile to make it in the big league. Then a passionate Jacqueline makes way for the optimistic and a zealous one. With uncertainty lingering around the box office windows in today’s times, Fernandez comes across firm. She wants to keep on acting, she wants to win the Filmfare trophy soon, she wants to be as lucky as Katrina Kaif (that’s what we gauge from her answer) but more importantly, she wants to stay in Bollywood, and she will, knowing that directors like Sajid Khan wanted her to do a special song cameo in his upcoming flick Housefull with Akshay Kumar and gang. UK’s Harrow Observer columnist and Bollywood Hungama‘s London correspondent Devansh Patel chats with Bollywood’s newest of diva’s who is climbing the ladder of name, fame and fortune sooner than you ever expected her to. No wonder we land up asking the question the moment we see her, “Jaane Kahan Se Aaye Hain? “
How alien are you in the world of Bollywood?
(Laughs) I think when I first arrived, I was a complete alien who’d come directly from Venus (laughs). That’s how I felt. But having said that, it didn’t take me long to understand the industry, feel comfortable and accept the world’s biggest movie producing nation. It was really weird, actually. It was pretty cool.
So have you got more than what you’ve deserved in Bollywood so far?
Well, I’ve definitely been lucky in Bollywood I should say. But I have worked very hard for what I have got. So I believe that you only get what you deserve.
I have worked very hard for what I have got. So I believe that you only get what you deserve.
Aladin and JKSAH. Films that weren’t tried and tested before. Would you want to go back to the basics too?
(Laughs) I am a pretty bizarre person myself and that’s why I keep on attracting all these roles. We are actors and that’s what we do. We do bizarre stuff sometimes. What keeps us alive and going is the fact that we can take on different roles and characters and have fun with it. It’s pretty awesome that I’ve been able to do something different in both my films.
And what’s so different in JKSAH?
It’s story. It’s a pretty fresh take on a love story. Love has no boundaries, love exists everywhere and it’s full of excitement and fun. But then an Alien comes down from nowhere and that in itself is quite interesting. Even the director Milap Zaveri. He has brought a fresh approach to everything. He is like a bundle of joy all the time. JKSAH‘s theme is very unique. We’ve got a bunch of people working together including Sonal Sehgal and Ruslaan Mumtaz and Riteish Deshmukh and that too makes it quite a chaotic film in a way (laughs).
Will Jacqueline Fernandez be as lucky as Katrina Kaif?
Oh! I don’t know that. I think no one will be ever able to answer that question. I don’t know if that’ll happen. I am not really looking for that answer as of now. I’m just going with the flow right now because whatever happens happens. I’m sure there are people who do want to go to that level but I don’t think it should stay in your mind all the time. Of course, who wouldn’t want to be lucky at the level Katrina Kaif is. I’m sure she has worked really hard to reach the place she is at today.
Talk about Riteish Deshmukh. Two films in a row.
Yes, but there are so many actors who’ve worked with each other so many times. In my first film I was a bit nervous. There was Riteish Deshmukh and Amitabh Bachchan. Two big stars and I making my debut. But in my second film, I was so much more comfortable. I was with Riteish again. I could do everything in JKSAH what I couldn’t while filming for Aladin. I was at ease. Plus, we also had a younger and a fresher crew this time around. It was bigger too. So we had a blast in JKSAH.
Who wouldn’t want to be lucky at the level Katrina Kaif is
And his contribution in teaching you the Hindi language?
(Laughs) Yes, Riteish is a good teacher. He wasn’t bad. He definitely tries (laughs). He has always tried to help me. Sometimes if I don’t get things in place, he’ll be giving instructions on how to say the lines. He is cool and so is everyone, from my spot boy to my director. They’ve all been helpful in making an effort to teach me the language I was an alien to. I was a bit nervous as to people would make fun of me but when you think again, you see that the same people want to help you out with the language.
Is Milap Zaveri a risk taker and a go-getter?
Milap Zaveri came across as Sujoy Ghosh was. He is a risk taker and a go-getter. But all directors are risk takers. You are taking a risk by making any movie, big or small. There is no formula or a guarantee on what the audiences want today. Milap is trying to look for an alien coming down from space and looking for love. Isn’t that risky? JKSAH is a risky comedy and it’ll work well. What’s good is the fact that directors like Milap and many others do what they are passionate about and what they believe in. I like that. I’ve been blessed with the two most energetic directors I’ve worked with – Milap and Sujoy.
Milap is trying to look for an alien coming down from space and looking for love. Isn’t that risky?
In times like such, how optimistic are you for your film?
We all have to be, seeing what’s going on today with our audiences. Yes, there is no formula and guarantee for any film to work today. But we still go through our nerves and excitement. Post and pre release of Aladin, I didn’t feel anything. I just felt it was an awesome experience. The experience was over powering everything else. Even with JKSAH, we all are coming together and that shows our optimistic nature towards a film we are a part of.
A quick word about Sonal Sehgal and Ruslaan Mumtaz please.
Sonal is my Bollywood girlfriend buddy (laughs). She is hilarious. We hit it off right from the day we met for the first time. She is like someone with whom I can go out and have a pizza and a chocolate cake and not feel bad about it (laughs). She has no airs. Ruslaan is a sweetheart. We’ve shot quite well together. He is fun too. We all got along very well.
Brief your experience on shooting for a special song in Housefull
It was really nerve wrecking at first. More than anything, I was quite nervous about the fact that I was working with Farah Khan for the first time. The fact that Akshay Kumar was there too made me giddy. Then there were the producers, Nadiadwalas too. I could’ve gone mad. But I kept on convincing myself that I better do very well or else….I’ve worked my bu**s off. For this song, I was rehearsing the longest hours. It was that intense. But overall, the song has turned out really well.
Any words from Akshay Kumar on your performance?
You know what? People are always under the impression that actors like Akshay and many more give out the wise words of wisdom and tips. But they are just normal human beings giving their opinion. All actors are doing their job and going back home. That’s how professional they are. Yes, everyone who was a part of this special song loved the way the song has turned out.